REBUILDING A STRONGER TASMANIA
The COVID-19 pandemic has been the largest shock in generations to our way of life, our society, our economy and our Budget.
In March we responded with the largest economic and social support package in the country, at over $1 billion, and took early measures in June to sustain jobs and confidence with our $3.1 billion Construction Blitz. Now, the 2020-21 Budget delivers on our Plan to Rebuild a Stronger Tasmania by underpinning jobs, bolstering confidence and investing in our community, right around our State.
TASMANIAN JOBS PLAN
Our Jobs Plan will support an estimated 25,000 jobs, grow our economy, boost confidence and strengthen our communities in every region. It includes a landmark $5 billion infrastructure program over the next four years, the largest infrastructure investment to ever be announced by a Tasmanian Government.
We will continue to back businesses to recover and make it easier for them to hire. We will support our critical industries to grow and capitalise on our competitive advantages, including renewable energy, tourism and agriculture.
We will invest even more into education and skills, schools and TasTAFE, to give Tasmanians greater opportunities to participate in, and benefit from, a strong economy.
SIGNS OF ECONOMIC RECOVERY
Our Jobs Plan is already working. Two thirds of Tasmanians have returned to work since May and in fact, there are now more Tasmanians employed than this time last year.
Retail trade and new home loans are up 14 per cent and 36 per cent respectively, than September last year. Our businesses are the most confident about our economy in the nation, and CommSec has ranked our economic performance the best in the nation – for the third quarter in a row.
LANDMARK $5 BILLION INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM
Our landmark infrastructure program of nearly $5 billion will build the intergenerational infrastructure our State needs to thrive, including more homes, better schools, roads, bridges, irrigation systems, as well as renewable energy assets and health, hospitals and justice facilities.
IMPACT ON THE BUDGET
We entered the pandemic from a position of strength, with one of the strongest economies in the nation and a strong budget position. We leveraged our strong balance sheet to support Tasmanians through the pandemic, and we will continue to do so.
Large downgrades in GST revenue and increased expenditure in combatting the virus and supporting Tasmanians will result in a deficit of around $1.1 billion this year. We will also take on a modest level of Net Debt as we invest to rebuild, however this level of debt continues to be one of the lowest in the country.
Importantly, the Budget provides the pathway to return to surplus within two years, and our Net Debt will continue to be one of the lowest in the country.
We rebuilt our budget once before, and took our economy to number one in the country. The 2020-21 Budget provides the economic platform to do it again.